Understanding Conversions (SEO 101)

Website management programs record every type of action a consumer makes on a website. The digital marketing world designates each action with its own acronym and relevance. There’s the click-through-rate (CTR), which describes how many people clicked on your link; the bounce rate, or how many people left the page immediately after clicking on your link; and the conversion rate, how many consumers become clients.

 

How To Measure Conversions

Due to the complexities of both the internet and human behaviors, measure the exact numbers of conversions can be difficult. This means your conversion rate will change depending on the parameters you set for recording conversions, but you can decide which actions count as conversions. According to a Moz.com article on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), there are two types of converting actions: macro-conversions and micro-conversions:

From Moz.com

 

Things to Keep In Mind

Every time a unique visit results in a conversion, the conversion rate goes up. This often doesn’t account for the few unique visits before a consumer makes before they convert into a client. They might not register as the same consumer If they clear their cookies or visit your site from a different device and account. Conversion rates are never 100% accurate, but if you optimize your ads and webpages with conversion actions they should give a good sense of how long it takes for consumers to become clients after visiting your page.

 

Increasing Conversions

So the consumer is on your webpage, now it’s up to your product and your content to make them into a customer. SEO and advertising can only go so far as to get them to your page, once they’re there, you have to convince them. This can be done with pleasing web design, easy access to converting actions (commenting on blogs, filling out surveys, signing up for newsletters, etc.), and providing quality content and products.

If you would like help in setting up any aspect of what is discussed here, contact Mockingbird Marketing. We set you up with everything your law firm needs for a website and a marketing campaign.

Mockingbird Client Google Ads Disapproved…. temporarily

Over the weekend, the Google Ads algorithm updated resulting in a temporary suspension of all of our clients’ search advertising campaigns. The issue at heart was the tracking pixel associated with PPC Protect – an additional step we have in place to combat click fraud above and beyond what is already in place through Google.  PPC Protect is a third party platform we’ve implemented across the board and we’ve seen a solid improvement in our clients’ advertising spend.

Unfortunately, Google flagged PPC Protect yesterday. We worked with both Google and PPC Protect to resolve the issue, but the end result was a roughly two hour downtime for clients running ads over the weekend. Sorry for the inconvenience. Clients – you should have already heard from your AE via email and/or phone.  If you have any additional questions – give me a shout directly at 206 209 2125.

-Conrad

 

Why Law Stories are Perfect for Content

Shareable content is the currency of the internet, and creating a viral video, story, or article is the visibility lottery few companies are able to win. Law firms tend to only win in comedic, slapstick way (think of the over-the-top local ads you may have seen on tv). This method may lead to a memorable name for consumers but doesn’t do much for credibility. As any advertiser knows to get people to see and remember the ad is one thing, getting them to purchase the product is another. That’s where it’s important to know your brand.

 

As explained by Greg Jarboe of Search Engine Journal, humor is an easy way to elicit an emotional response from a consumer. The other way to get attention is through drama and sincerity. 

 

The Type of Story You Should Tell

As a law firm, you fight to get people what they deserve every day. If you’re a personal injury lawyer you help people get back on their feet. If you’re an immigration firm you get people working and reconnected with their families. There are few things that get internet users as teary-eyed as family reunions, especially if there was a struggle involved. DUI lawyers can focus on rehabilitation after a mistake. You get it: you stand up for the little man, let the little man help you stand taller. 

 

How to Tell Your Story

Let the focus stay on your client. They are the star, and they’re who you focused on during their case. Have the story be strongly based on a true story, if not fully true. People respond to honest stories and honest struggle.

 

The Story doesn’t Have to be Universally Relatable

A very small percentage of America’s population are dogs with owners who are serving in the military. That doesn’t stop large numbers of people from crying when they watch videos of dogs reacting when their owners return from service. People connect with the feeling of reunion and relief. You, as a law firm, provide at least one of those things every time you win a case.

 

Keep It Simple

Your story has one goal: get people to know what you do and that you care about your clients’ stories. This means that it should follow a basic narrative arc, wrap up nicely, and leave the viewer knowing that your firm resolved the conflict. No need for b-plots or side characters. 

 

Designing a compelling story is the oldest art known to man, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Emotions can be complicated and, occasionally, controversial. Ask clients for their thoughts on if they would like to be featured in one of your stories. You help people every day and it’s time you showed the world the effects of your work.

If you feel like your brand needs help with advertising or digital marketing, contact us and we can discuss your options.

You Need to Improve Your Firm’s Brand Story

So you have a good business, you treat your clients well, your firm works hard, and yet your presence is barely felt online. You’ve worked on SEO, PPC, and every other acronym your digital marketing team has thrown at you. Maybe you need to improve your brand story, for both you and your clients.

 

The Client’s Story

Unless they’ve been referred by a friend, it’s unlikely that your client will show up at your website without first doing research into their case and other lawyers. This is that client’s story you need to work on. They need to go from not knowing you, recognizing your brand, to trusting you, to converting. 

This process begins with the client researching their problem, which is when you can come in with information. This is why having an informative and accessible blog is essential. If you’re a personal injury firm, maybe your client will find a blog about settlements from trampoline-related injuries when they’re researching how common the injuries they sustained on their friend’s trampoline are. 

Once they decide to take action, they will hopefully have your brand in the back of their heads as they research local law firms. Once the name is familiar, they are more likely to look into your firm. As they’re comparing firms, you need to make sure your personal brand story stands out.

 

Your Brand Story

Remember the three arts of rhetoric: Pathos, Ethos, and Logos. That’s right, we’re going back to High School English. Consider what makes your firm different, what gives it the upper-hand. 

What brought everyone into the firm and why do you do what you do? Pull those pathos strings; get them emotionally involved.  

What makes your lawyers so good? Was it their schooling? Their years of experience? Maybe they clerked for superior court judges in their youth. Show your potential client that you have the knowledge and authority to win the case. You must wow them with your ethos.

Finally, explain why your firm is the practical option. If you’re a personal injury lawyer who only charges a contingency fee, you’re probably more practical for someone trying to repair their life that a lawyer who costs $1,200/hour. If you’re a local business you are easily accessible to anyone nearby and know all the local regulations. You are the logical option, and you need to prove it with logos.

 

What If My Story Isn’t Interesting?

Any story can be interesting if it’s told correctly. Focus on emotions where the details get dry, focus on details when there aren’t many emotions to talk about and talk about your hopes for your brand’s future when there’s not much to say about emotions or details. Every person has some motivation for being where they are, and yours and your clients’ need to align when they find your website. Whatever you do, don’t make up your story. Fabricated details and emotions are easy to sense and can push potential clients away, even if they aren’t quite sure why. People respond to honesty. 

If you need help building your brand story or increasing your brand awareness, contact us and we will help you plan a comprehensive marketing strategy.

If Google Ads Runs Itself Now, What do We do?

Google Ads have been getting more sophisticated and closer to full automation over the recent years, all the while causing panic for those who make their living in SEO and PPC. This is a well-known never-ending crisis, as evidenced by blogs and articles from the early 2010s. Recent developments by Google have done very little to quell these fears, as updates introduce features like automated ad suggestions and automated extensions, which write, design, and post ads with little to no help from the human in charge. This leaves the question: what is our role?

 

Just Because its Automated Doesn’t Mean it Has to Be

 While Google Ads have the capacity to be fully automated, they probably shouldn’t be, for the good of your campaigns and your wallet. Many of the default options for Google Ads serve Google more than you. You know your target market, and it’s more narrow than Google’s Display Network. Until further notice, you and Google have conflicting goals: Google wants your ad to be seen by as many people as possible, and you want your ad to be seen by people who are likely to click-through. SEO experts will always have a place as long as there are options to customize ad reach and visibility. 

 

Content Works Best When Written By Humans For Humans

We’ve all read scripts written by ai, and we all know that people still have the upper hand when it comes to writing for human readers, for now at least. Humans, and SEO experts, in particular, are particularly skilled in writing content that optimized for the guidelines of Google rankings as well as holding the interest of a human reader. We have that touch of emotion and a unique voice that has yet to be properly replicated.

 

Humans Can Connect Broader Concepts

Direct traffic has little data connected to it, making it difficult to use in analytics. Luckily, SEO experts are able to make sense of where traffic can come from, even if they don’t have an accessible browser history. They can see that the person went to the website from a mobile device shortly after their ad was played on TV. People have a better ability to think outside the box, which is why advertisements look different than they did in the 1970s. Times and trends change when people try new things, a concept that doesn’t work as well for computer programs.

 

In Conclusion, Your Industry Is (Probably) Safe

While automation has a tendency to remove people from certain steps of the digital marketing equation, it has yet to make them obsolete, and since this worry has been pretty consistent for almost a decade now without the disappearance of the industry, you will probably be fine. Just remember to hold onto the skills the robots can’t replicate.

Setting Up Your Google Ads

 

 

In today’s digital marketing climate, Google Ads are just about unavoidable. Google owns over 89% of North America’s search engine market, which rises to 92% worldwide. This makes advertising on the platform the best way to get to the eyes of consumers. Unfortunately, a lot of advertisers are completely clueless about how to optimize their Google Ad campaigns. Here’s how to not be one of those advertisers. For a more in-depth guide, check out Brittany Zerr of Kick Point’s article here.

 

Keywords

For an aspect of advertising that has been around since the beginning of search engines, keywords are commonly misused. Think about keywords like a description of a sandwich on a menu: descriptive, but not over the top. Describe the sandwich’s key features, but you probably don’t have to describe every ingredient. If your keywords are too broad you risk people seeing your ad who are searching for something completely underrated. A search for the keyword “sandwich” will bring the consumer a mountain of results that your ad could get lost under. If one of your keywords for your sandwich is “self-rising flour,” it might show up when someone is looking for a cake recipe. This results in you paying for an ad that the consumer didn’t want to see.

 

Just as important as regular keywords, negative keywords help to narrow your audience. If someone is looking for a vegan sandwich or classes at a sandwich school, you can make it so that “vegan” and “school” are negative keywords, meaning your ad won’t show up if the consumers searches for those terms. Finding the right negative keywords can take time, so don’t be afraid to look into your Google Analytics and see what keywords are bringing your ads to consumers. If any don’t align with your business, make them negative keywords.

 

Match Types

Google has many options that aren’t best for advertisers, but are best for Google, which is why they might be set as the default. “Broad match” is one of these options. Broad match allows Google to display your ad anywhere it feels like it might be relevant based on your keywords. Since Google profits off your ad being displayed, it’ll likely show up in places you don’t think are relevant. Get ready to see your sandwich on searches for what to do when your car gets crunched between the car in front and behind it. 

 

To start your campaign, try using “Exact match.” This will make sure your ad will only show up on searches that include your exact keyword. If you know your market, you will reach your clients more efficiently with the keyword “pesto aioli sandwich Cupertino” than the keyword “sandwich south bay.”

 

Calls to Action/Extensions

Efficiency is everything in the internet age, as are statistics. Having a call to action on your ad helps with both of these. If your sandwich ad gives options to “Order Online” or “Get Directions,” the consumer will be able to end their search with the click of a button, and you get click-through data. To get those calls to action on your ad, you’ll need to add extensions. 

 

Extensions help to broaden your searches and provide more info to your clients. Its best to just add as many extensions as you think are relevant to your campaign(s) and let Google do the rest. That being said, it’s up to you to make sure all your extensions are working properly with the right parameters. 

 

Location

If you are a local business make sure Google knows. Make sure your business’s address, hours, contact details, and description are all easily accessible and show up when a client searches for your business. This will help with local searches beyond any advertising campaign you might have, but it will also help your advertising campaign. If someone Google knows is close to your business searches “pesto sandwich Cupertino,” your ad will show up at the top of the list. If you can only serve customers in your nearby area, make sure those are the only people seeing your ad. You don’t want someone in Tangiers seeing your ad when they want a pesto sandwich.

 

If you’re unsure about where people are when they’re seeing your ad, you can see those on your GoogleAd page data sets. If a large group of people seeing your ad are in Tangiers, you might want to tighten up your location settings.

 

Campaigns

Finally, think about your campaign strategy. When it comes to Google Ads it’s best to have multiple campaigns with fewer ads in each campaign than the other way around. This gives you more control over each individual ad and more information on each campaign, letting you know what is and isn’t working. 

 

To make further sure that you are in control of your ads, make sure that you’ve selected to be a “Search Campaign” as opposed to Google’s default “Google Display Network.” The Google display network will restrict your ad to a text ad while handing the wheel to Google on where to show your ad. As a rule, you want to be in control of your campaign. 

Google Ads can be confusing and difficult to set up, and if you get it wrong you could be dumping money into a campaign that’s giving you nothing in return. If you are a lawyer who needs help setting up your Google Ads or designing PPC campaigns, contact us for a consultation.

How to Run Paid Ads with a Small Budget

An unfortunate caveat of advertising in legal is that it can be very expensive to run ads on Google. In 2017, keywords related to “lawyer” were the fourth most expensive keywords on the platform in the United States at an average cost-per-click (CPC) of $54.86. An average CPC this high can make it hard to begin advertising, especially on a tight budget. However, that shouldn’t stop you from running ads altogether! Here are a few paid advertising strategies that won’t break the bank.

Utilize Branded & Competitor Ads

If you are not already running ads for your brand, you should have started yesterday. There are three reasons for this:

  1. They are your safeguard against competitors who are either currently bidding on your name or may do so in the future.
  2. Since you are bidding on keywords specific to your brand, they have a much lower CPC than other law-related keywords.
  3. Branded keywords have high quality scores. High quality scores mean higher ranking & lower bids.

Running branded ads is a great way to ensure you are appearing at the top of the search results whenever someone looks for your firm. Creating ads for your firm shouldn’t stop at your brand name either. Creating ads for attorneys at your firm is another way to ensure your firm is appearing for your branded searches. What if you already appear organically? While paid search may cannibalize some organic traffic, having both actually leads to an overall increase in clicks and leads. Give users as many opportunities to click on your site, and not legal directories or competitor sites.

Along the lines of advertising for your brand, an increasing trend among law firms advertising on Google is to bid on your competitors’ names. Like your own branded keywords, the branded keywords of your competitors will also have lower CPCs. If you choose to run competitor ads, make sure your ads comply with Google Ads policy and that you do not misrepresent your brand. Also, check with your State Bar Association.

Run Call-Only Ads

As the world becomes more mobile-friendly, the likelihood of a searcher to convert on mobile over desktop is increasing. If they’re already on their phone, they are that much closer to giving you a call. Utilizing call-only ads instead of text ads is a great way to get more conversions with a limited budget. Call-only ads appear only on mobile devices, and a click on the ad allows the searcher to call your firm directly. To be successful with call-only ads, however, you must bid about double what you would normally bid on a keyword, but because these ads only appear for searchers on mobile, it narrows your audience so that the search volume in your area for your targeted keywords decreases.

Increase Visibility with Display & Video Ads

If your goal is to increase exposure for your firm, display and video ads are the way to go. This is a great way to broadcast your brand and services on the internet in an inexpensive way. Think of these ads as online billboards or commercials for your business. However, while these ads are relatively inexpensive to run, they are best utilized to get people to find you but not necessarily contact you. If your goal is to get the phone ringing right now, this isn’t the best option for you. However, with the right targeting, you can get your brand in front of a ton of people for very, very cheap.

Advertise in Another Language

Do you offer your legal services in other languages? If so, you should definitely be advertising in that language. Few law firms in the United States advertise in other languages, so the competition for legal keywords is much lower than that of their English equivalents. This means that the average CPC for these keywords is significantly lower, but the case value is just as high as their English equivalent. Just make sure that your ads are written with correct grammar and spelling as this is the easiest way for a native speaker to tell whether or not you actually speak their language.

Utilize Other Advertising Platforms

A common theme among some of these strategies is the low amount of competition there is to your target audience. This is true for platforms like Microsoft Advertising and Facebook Ads. There are fewer advertisers on these platforms, so it is far cheaper to go after some of the more expensive practice areas (like personal injury or criminal defense). In addition to the lower volume of legal advertisers on Facebook, it is easier to target users based on their interests, pages they’ve liked, or if they have visited your website but didn’t convert. Remarketing is a fantastic way to make sure you get the most out of all your marketing channels.

Paid advertising can be expensive to run, but by branching out into less competitive markets, it doesn’t have to be, especially if you are in a more competitive region, like Texas or California, or a more competitive practice area, like personal injury or criminal defense. By utilizing these tactics, you will have a much easier time keeping up with the competition in a cost-effective way.

 

Competitor Ads in your Google My Business Profile…

Well, we seem to be moving closer and closer to an advertising driven world, as Google has introduced advertising directly on competitor Google My Business listings. To the right is an example from Greg Sterling, at Search Engine Land which shows an ad for a competing car dealership showing up directly within search results. Greg notes that the advertisement is located almost an hour away…which, at least in the example, flies against the highlighted importance of “local” to consumers.

One important note – according to Greg’s review, firms can’t pay for ad free listings – which means any business may have competitor advertising embedded directly within their localized results. This “ad free profile” business model has been widely utilized by directories in (Avvo) and out (Yelp) of the legal market. From my experience this generates nasty backlash from prospective customers and Google is clearly trying to avoid that, although I’m not certain that the prospect of having competitor ads showing up by default on branded queries is going to engender any goodwill either.

If you’ve got an example of one of these ads in legal…please send a screenshot over.

Google Ads Search Position Metrics

It’s important to understand where your ads appear on the search page to determine if you should increase your bids or change strategy to be competitive. One metric that advertisers use to asses where their ads are showing up is average position.

However, average position has never been a clear representation of exactly where your ad appears on the search results page. Average position reflects the order that your ad appears versus the other ads in the auction on the search page. The first ad slot is not always at the top of the page above organic results. Sometimes no ads are displayed above the organic results so an ad with position one may appear at the bottom of the page.

Google Ads has four ad position metrics that can provide advertisers a clearer understanding of where their ads are showing up in search results.

  • Impression (Absolute Top) % – The percentage of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • Impression (Top) % – The percentage of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
  • Search (Absolute Top) IS – The impressions received in the absolute top position divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
  • Search (Topping ) IS – The impressions received in the top location compared to the estimated number of impressions you were able to receive in the top location.

To summarize, The first two metrics show when and where ad impressions display above organic results. The two impression share metrics show the share of impressions that were eligible for top-of-page impressions, above organic results.

If you have been using the average position to determine where your ad appears on the page, use these four metrics to get a better description of where your ad stands against the competition.